Cup winner to accept daunting challenge
IRELAND'S Kew Gardens tops the $8 million Melbourne Cup weights amid confirmation Charlie Appleby will attempt to defend the Flemington crown with Cross Counter on November 5.
Racing Victoria's Greg Carpenter pointed to English St Leger winner Kew Garden's standing as the highest-rated three-year-old stayer in the world last year before handicapping Aidan O'Brien's star with 58kg.
"Kew Gardens is the obvious top-weight for the Melbourne Cup," Carpenter said.
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Cross Counter, who carried 51kg to victory last year, rises to 57.5kg this year.
"He's trying to emulate Archer, Rain Lover, Think Big and Makybe Diva," Carpenter said, referring to the difficulty of repeat Cup success.
"It's a penalty for his win last year and an acknowledgment is that he goes from a northern hemisphere three-year-old to a northern hemisphere four-year-old."
Carpenter revealed Appleby had indicated to RV's international scout Paul Bloodworth he would accept the challenge.
Bloodworth described Kew Gardens as a "50-50" chance of contesting the Cup, while estimating "75 per cent of the internationals near the top of the weights" were committed to travelling to Australia.
Marmelo, making his third attempt, will carry the same weight - 56kg - as he did last year.
Carpenter has lifted weights for northern hemisphere three-year-olds by a kilogram in the Melbourne Cup.
Under the weight scale, Lindsay Park recruit Constantinople will carry 53kg at Flemington and 52.5kg at Caulfield.
"We're comfortable with the way we've integrated the three-year-olds into the weights," Carpenter said.
Andrew Ramsden Stakes winner Steel Prince and Cup aspirant Surprise Baby have both been allocated 52.kg in the Melbourne Cup.
James Cummings' pair Avilius and Hartnell top the weights for the $5.15 million Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 26.
The Godolphin duo has been allocated 58kg - a kilogram more than Humidor.
Last season's runner-up Homesman rises 3.5kg on his 2018 handicap to 56.5kg.
Winx and Chelmsford Stakes winner Samadoubt has been given 56kg, the same mark as international Mirage Dancer
Japanese raider Mer De Glace will carry 55.5kg as he attempts to emulate 2016 winner Admire Rakti.
Best Solution shouldered 57.5kg to victory in last year's Caulfield Cup.
Order of entry for both Cups will be released on Thursday.
CUP WEIGHTS SUMMARY
Form analyst MICHAEL MANLEY picks out the winners and losers from the Cup weights.
Last year's winner will carry 57.5kg as he tries to become the first horse since Makybe Diva to win successive Cups since 2005. He's up 6.5kg but few horses in Melbourne Cup history finished as fast as he did to win when he was only a northern Hemisphere three-year-old then who had had only seven starts.
If he was to run in the Melbourne Cup he'd be one of the better credentialed horses to have contested it. 58kg seems a reasonable weight for a horse who was rated alongside Stradivarius as the worlds' best stayer last year.
MARMELO and PRINCE OF ARRAN
Last year's Melbourne Cup placegetters will carry the same weight as they did last year when they filled second and third. Marmelo trained by Hughie Morrison will again carry 56kg and the Charlie Fellows trained Prince Of Arran has 53kg in the Melbourne Cup and the same weight in the Caulfield Cup.
STEEL PRINCE and SURPRISE BABY
The pair of gifted local stayers who fought out the thrilling finish to the Andrew Ramsden Stakes will both carry 52.5kg in the Melbourne Cup. Steel Prince is in the field while Surprise Baby needs to get in. Both horses have 53kg in the Caulfield Cup.
The Australian Bloodstock-owned Ebor Handicap winner Mustajeer has been given 55.5kg in the Caulfield Cup and 55kg in the Melbourne Cup. The emerging stayer is now with Kris Lees. Damien Oliver has been booked to ride the stayer in the Caulfield Cup.
ANGEL OF TRUTH
Another of the local staying brigade. The Glenda Markwell stayer who emerged from obscurity to win the ATC Derby last autumn has 54kg in the Caulfield Cup and 53.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.
The versatile Self Sense will carry only 51kg in the Caulfield Cup, a race he is guaranteed a start in due to his Mornington Cup win. He also has 50.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.
SO SI BON
Lindsay Park only entered the cult figure for only the Caulfield Cup where he has been allocated 54kg. As a gelding be about to put the ridicule of being a bridesmaid and being intractable behind him
She could be the fairy-tale story of the spring being the daughter of Makybe Diva. She's now five the same age her mother won her first Melbourne Cup. Like her she's lightly raced at the corresponding time of their career and her form isn't that far below her famous mum at the same stage. The Tony and Calvin McEvoy trained mare has 50kg in both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup.